Photo: Graham Hughes The canadian Press
Johnny Manziel, who has already won the Heisman trophy back, tries to revive his career in Canada. Will he do better than several american footballers recruited in the past by canadian teams?
All eyes will be turned to Johnny Manziel when he will make his first start in the canadian football League on Friday when the Montreal Alouettes host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The former winner of the Heisman trophy back has gotten a lot of attention from the media both sides of the border, who tries to revive his career in Canada. The quarterback added his name to a long list of Americans who have tried to leave their mark in the CFL.
Here’s how a few of these big names have made their entry in the canadian League :
Ricky Williams. Suspended by the NFL for violating its drug policy, Williams has decided to sign a contract with the Toronto Argonauts in 2006. At its first meeting, Williams has amassed 97 yards in 18 runs and caught two passes for 24 yards in a gain of 27-18 against the Ti-Cats.
However, it has not had a big impact in his only season in the CFL before returning south of the border : Williams has carried the ball 109 times for 526 yards (an average of 4.8) and two touchdowns in 11 games. He added 19 caught for 127 yards.
Chad Johnson. After two years without playing, the receiver has signed a pact with the Alouettes in 2014. In the first game of the season, he caught two passes from Troy Smith for 20 yards in a defeat of 29-8 in the hands of the Calgary Stampeders.
Johnson has not done much in the canadian tour, capturing seven passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in 12 meetings.
Raghib Ismail. After you have turned the back on the NFL to sign a lucrative contract with the Argos, the “Rocket” has quickly shone upon his arrival in 1991.
He collected 213 yards, excelling both in attack as in special units, while the Argonauts defeated the Tiger-Cats 41-18 in front of 41 000 spectators. The Argos have won the Grey Cup this season, and Ismail played a major role.
Ismail, however, has not enjoyed the same success in his second and final season in the CFL. He made his debut in the NFL with the Rams in Los Angeles in 1993.
Mark Gastineau.Two years after retiring from the NFL, the defensive end was attempting a comeback with the Lions of British Columbia in 1990.
In his first game, he was expelled after an altercation with the linebacker Stamps Dan Wicklum. The two men tried to hit with their helmet in returning to their locker room at half-time. The match concluded with a tie of 38-38.
Gastineau has played only four games with the Lions, making six tackles.
Doug Flutie. The former winner of the Heisman trophy back made his debut in the CFL in the same meeting that Gastineau, also for the Lions. His pass of 37 yards to Ray Alexander with one second in regulation time enabled the Lions to raise a point.
If Flutie struggled in his first campaign, he became one of the best quarters of the CFL’s history, winning the title of the outstanding player of the circuit on six occasions.
Flutie returned to the NFL in 1998, leading the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs in the two seasons during which it has been their shift starting. In total, the Bills have now missed the tournament the end of the season 17 years in a row.
Vince Ferragamo. After a contractual dispute with the Rams in Los Angeles, the quarterback joined the Alouettes in 1981.
Ferragamo has managed 12 of his 30 passes for 155 yards in his debut in the CFL, losing 48-8 in the face of the Lions. He played in 13 meetings in Montreal, completing 175 of his 342 passes (51.1 percent) for 2182 yards and seven touchdowns against 25 interceptions, which cost him his starting job.
He returned to the Rams the following season.
Andre Healing. After three seasons without playing, the receiver has signed a pact with the Argonauts at the mid-way point of the 2004 season.
One who has competed in five Pro Bowls, has made her debut on the day of the feast of the Work, catching four passes for 49 yards in a draw of 30 to 30 against the Ti-Cats.
Healing has played in seven games spread over two seasons in Toronto, finishing his career with 15 caught for 178 yards and a touchdown before the Argos do the release.